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US Report Reveals Sharp Rise in Anti-Muslim Attacks

BOSTON – A new report released Tuesday, May 9, by a leading American Muslim civil rights group warned that anti-Muslim bias incidents in the United States have increased by 57 per cent over the past year, giving an image of the daily life Muslims were going through in their country.

“There was this widespread sense that we were going right back to how it was after 9/11,” when al Qaeda hijackers launched coordinated attacks on New York and Washington, sparking a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment, Corey Saylor, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) department on monitoring and combating Islamophobia, told Reuters.

“We wanted to be able to put something factual out there.”

CAIR report found a 57 percent increase in the number of incidents in 2016, up from 1,409 in 2015. Incidents increased 5 percent from 2014 to 2015.

The accounting includes a wide variety of bias incidents, from assaults and street harassment, to employment discrimination, to what the group considers unwarranted contact by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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It also shows a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes to 260 in 2016, up 44 percent from 180 a year earlier. That includes all crimes recorded where CAIR saw evidence of anti-Muslim bias, not just those where hate crime charges were brought, Saylor said.

Masjid Al-Kareem mosque in Providence, Rhode Island, is one of the mosques in America which received a hate letter last November calling Muslims a “vile and filthy people”.

Rhode Island’s oldest mosque was only threatened, while others in Florida and Texas were set ablaze in cases ruled arson. But the knowledge of how common threats had become was far from comforting for Faissal Elansari, a member of the mosque’s board.

“Hearing about it is not the same thing as when you receive it, it was definitely a weird feeling,” Elansari said.

Muslims are not alone in experiencing an uptick in bias as a similar report was released last month by the Anti-Defamation League which recorded a 34 percent rise in anti-Semitic acts in 2016.

“The 2016 presidential election and the heightened political atmosphere played a role in the increase,” the ADL concluded in its report.